SRS - English Card
Just looking for peoples opinion
I am getting to the stage now where I have enough SRS cards that I find myself often failing words due to synonyms cropping up. For example I might see the word "Oridinary" on the English side and end up saying the wrong Chinese equivelent.
I am interested to know if people only add the Hanzi side of a card and whether it affects your ability to recall the word on a noticable level?
At the moment I am tempted to experiment with a Chinese only deck. My thinking is that I would avoid the synonym issues, save half the time reviewing (so I can double the amount of words I add) and create a more immersive environment.
chrisDecember 28, 2011, 04:57 AM
On Anki, I always start with just the Hanzi showing and then subsequently reveal the English/Pinyin. Must admit I've never used it the other way, going from English to the Hanzi/Pinyin. I can certainly understand your issue though where there may be lots of Hanzi possibilities for the same English word. In fact, now that i've got 4000+ words on my current Anki deck, I also find this problem going the other way, e.g. how many different English words can the character 把 apply to?!
The idea behind having a recall card is so that when you are trying to think of a word, you can do so in English to help you remember it. When I first started I read arguments for this and so used it. Now I am not so sure.
I would say from my experience there is at least 40% of my decks that I cannot freely use in daily conversation but as soon as I start doing the flash cards "boom" I suddenly know them all. It is like I am actually taking subconscious cues from the layout of the card and order of translations.
I also see your problem with 把.... Maybe well are approaching it in a non native way. We are trying to link everything to another language rather than linking it to things within the language.
One thing I am tempted to do is have no English at all. Just the PINYIN, maybe a picture for nouns and then sentence examples for the rest to get the feel of a word instead of trying to find a direct English equivalent for everything.
ouyangjun116December 28, 2011, 05:55 AM
I use Anki for SRS and have for about 3 years now, I always create the cards with both "recognition" (seeing the character and recalling its meaning) and "production" (seeing the definition and recalling the character or word). I've had the same problem with production in seeing the definition and difficulty recalling the correct word due to synonyms. I order to deal with this better, about 6 months ago I started adding the Chinese definition (in Hanzi) to each cards definition. I've started to migrate now on some cards to have no English definition at all and just have the definition in Chinese. In any case, I think it's important to create all cards with a production and recognition card. It allows me to more naturally recall words that I've previously studied. Whether creating the definition in English or Chinese, recall is crucial to fluency. I currently have over 11,000 cards (production + recognition) with around 5,500 facts in Anki and manage the review plus 5 new cards per day in less than 30 minutes, so don't let the growing number of cards overwhelm you, because the SRS will space them to a manageable number.
I find the killer with Anki is if you miss a couple of days. I have in fact just done this, and looking at my phone now I have 804 cards I am now meant to be reviewing. Somewhat demotivating. The trick is to ensure you definitely do your required reviews each and every day!
Thanks for your advice. How well are you retaining the newer cards without English definitions compared to the others? Are you noticing a difference in the amount of time it takes before you can use them conversationally?
I am impressed that you can get it all done is less than 30 minutes! I easily spend over an hour each day on reviewing. Then again, I do have separate decks for sentences to practice speaking and writing (both of which take up more time than the vocab for me)
It used to take me much longer to do the reviews in Anki, but it is much quicker now because a lot of the cards in my deck are quite mature (some I won't see again for another 6+ years). Generally I have less than 100 cards to review daily and most of the mature ones I breeze through in a second.
As for retaining the newer cards without an English definition, I think I am retaining them just as good as with English. For me I prefer the Chinese definitions, because sometimes the English definitions of Chinese words or certain Chengyu are lacking. Relying more and more on the Chinese definition from a Chinese dictionary really nails down the true meaning and usage of the word in Chinese.
As to when I can start to use them in daily conversation, this is a tough one to answer. Some of them as little as one time and I'm good to go, others it takes me quite a while and then all of the sudden it just "clicks" and is part of my vocab. Mostly, it has to do with my interest in using the word, if I'm really interested, I remember almost immediately. For example the other week I learned a chengyu, 傻里傻气, and this immediately made it into my permanent/fluent vocab list. Then there are others that I learned over a year ago, like 也许, but didn't make my daily conversation list until just this past week. The latter made it into my daily conversation not to to repeated reviewing with flaschards, but to to hearing it so many times on Chinese sitcoms. I think some words will be easy to integrate via flashcards and others get integrated through a mix of flashcards hearing repeated times.
I'm increasingly finding my problem with Anki is that when those longterm cards do eventually make it around again, I've forgotten it! This doesn't make sense to me since my understanding of SRS is that if a card is in slow rotation it means it should already be hardcoded in my memory. I guess I wasn't honest enough when first rating the easiness of the card in the earlier stages.
Also, I'm not that clear on the SRS algorithm. I swear there are cards that have come up as 2 years, for example, but then I've seen them again in a matter of weeks....
I've had this problem also. When it happens just mark it wrong, it will go back in the deck and you'll re-learn in an 1/8th of the time it took you to learn it the first time.... or it could be the problem that the word is not used in modern Chinese and therefore you never hear or see it outside of your card review... I've had this problem with textbooks, they often put words in there that are dated and no longer in use... after realizing that and confirming with a Chinese person I delete them from my deck :)
Yes, I think the idea is that SRS will never allow you to forget a word.....for too long.
Like ouyangjun116 said, if you don't use the word regularly you are going to forget about it eventually. In my view SRS just makes sure that when that time has come, it will test you. Then you will pull it back to the front then sink it a bit deeper into the mind next for next time around.
On the algorithm comment, I could also swear I have seen the same thing but like you, I don't know how it works completely. It could be that you are seeing your English card one week and then the Chinese counterpart another then getting a sense of de ja vu.